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There are 1,596 questions tagged dynamic on Stack Overflow: most of them seem to be from people not understanding that spaces separate tags (that is, they're talking about dynamic term).

Notwithstanding the intent of the usage of the tag, Dynamic adds no information on its own, only modifies another term: I don't think anyone would ever just want to find dynamic questions, but dynamic term questions. This should be banned like other meta tags.

Edit: one other reference point, The Death of Meta Tags, describes two criteria that likely point to a meta tag:

  1. If the tag can’t work as the only tag on a question, it’s probably a meta-tag. Every tag you use should be able to work, more or less, as the only tag on a question. Meta-tags, like [beginner], [subjective], and [best-practices], are useless by themselves — they tell you nothing at all about the content of the question.
  2. If the tag commonly means different things to different people, it’s probably a meta-tag. In a cruel, ironic twist, the meaning of the tag [subjective] itself … is actually subjective. Ditto for [best-practices] and [beginner]. Best practices to whom? Beginner by what criteria? These tags are impossible to define by anything remotely resembling an objective metric. In comparison, the the meaning of tags like [java], [c#], and [javascript] are crystal clear to all but the nuttiest of nutbags.

While these criteria are not necessary and sufficient to define a meta tag, the dynamic tag seems to meet both criteria.

Edit 2: it'd be helpful, for me at least, to understand where my argument has gone wrong to warrant the down votes.

Currently, the two answers are:

  1. That dynamic is an important modifier tag to C#, F# and other related languages, which supports criteria 1 (that it can't stand on its own), and
  2. That there are at least some legitimate uses of dynamic, but the meaning of the tag changes depending on context, which supports criteria 2 (that it commonly means different things to different people).

So why should it be kept?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I went through the first 60 as Mark linked them and tried to judge how [dynamic] is being used.

Categories of usage:

  • Marketing speak: 3
  • dynamic-foo: 18 (ip:1 loading:5 memory-management:1 binding:1 pivot:1 html:1 array:2 domain:1 select-menus:1 images:1 programming:1 expansion:1 list:1)
  • Hard to classify or pointless: 4
  • In lieu of "polymorphic", "at runtime", or similar: 20
  • .Net keyword: 8
  • something htmly to do with divs: 2 (maybe put this with the dynamic-foos?)
  • "dynamic LINQ expression": 2 (maybe put this with the dynamic-foos?)
  • in a reflexive language setting: 2

(doesn't add up. I must have dropped a couple)

Some of these are rather out of my ken, but it looks like a few may be legitimate. Certainly the marketing speak can go and the dynamic-foos should be joined up.

I notice that the html folks use a bare dynamic a lot to differentiate from static pages. (This accounts for many of the ones I've marked as "at runtime", the div usages seems to be separate from that.)

The use in a reflexive context seems pretty natural to me, though there may be a better word.


BTW-- I'll make this CW and invite more knowledgeable folks to join up categories where appropriate.

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This seems to support that the dynamic tag is meaningless on its own and is indeed a meta tag. –  user149432 Aug 27 '10 at 16:54

It is a keyword that was recently added to the C# language. Which makes it an important contextual tag when the [C#] tag is used. A question that is tagged [C#] [dynamic] is clearly asking about how to use the new support for dynamic programming in C#. Also relevant to the [.NET], [VB.NET] and [F#] tags. We need to keep it for just this reason.

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Wouldn't [c#-dynamic] (or similar) be more appropriate? Most other scope-specific tags follow that pattern. –  user149432 Aug 27 '10 at 6:55
    
This is supported by my survey (I seem to have 8 such uses out of 60 examined). –  dmckee Aug 27 '10 at 6:57
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Granted it's a small sample, but if only 13% of the cases are categorically legitimate, doesn't that seem to support the idea that the tag is not particularly useful on its own? Tags are meant to work by themselves, which dynamic does not do. –  user149432 Aug 27 '10 at 16:56
    
@mark: the flip side is [const] currently with 355 uses, [extern] with 86, and [struct] with 760. Perhaps not an exact analogy as these keywords are used in many languages with c-like syntax, but... –  dmckee Aug 27 '10 at 17:45
2  
A tag like [c#-dynamic] is not useful, you just can't create an effective query anymore. An expert on using dynamic programming in C# will create a query that includes both [c#] and [dynamic]. And it has good odds of finding Jon Skeet. –  Uphill Luge Aug 27 '10 at 19:02
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Maybe [dynamic-keyword] or [dynamic-dotnet]? –  SamB Oct 19 '10 at 17:48

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